Cats zero in on any animal proteins they can smell—and they can smell a lot of them—and will start rubbing up against your legs, trying to get a lick of the inside of the can. While cats will certainly go absolutely nuts for a little bit of crab, many parents wonder what foods they can and cannot feed their pet cats. It’s natural not to want to feed your cat something that will make them sick.
It is perfectly okay for your cat to eat some crab in moderation. Crab is not only delicious, but it’s also even healthy for cats. Here’s the down-low on feeding crab to your cat.
Cat Nutrition 101
Cats are obligate carnivores—sometimes referred to as “hypercarnivores”—meaning that they consume at least 70% animal proteins as part of their diet. Obligate carnivores do not have the enzymes needed to naturally break and plant material in their stomach. So, they don’t get the complete nutrients from plant and vegetation matter. At the same time, most vegetation is not necessarily toxic to them. They only don’t derive the whole nutrients from the things they eat unless it’s animal matter.
Because of this dietary need, cats have an innate sense of smell tuned to animal protein. Cat parents may find themselves up to their ears in weird things their cats like to eat, such as earwax or foot shavings from your pumice stone. However, veterinarians have pointed out that there’s no reason to stop them if they are not eating toxic substances.
Cats need a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet to thrive. Because of their natural biological makeup needs to consume high amounts of animal proteins, and filling carbohydrates will prompt them to eat fewer proteins.
Feeding Cats Crab Safely
One of the critical components of reading your cat crab safely is never feeding raw crab. The raw crab introduces many pathways for pathogens to make their way into your cat’s diet and digestive system.
While there are many vocal proponents for the raw feeding diet, this diet is not made up of simply bromine splint meats that have been preserved and prepared to be served raw safely. Introducing raw meats from unknown sources is not recommended, even for raw food diets.
To ensure that your cat isn’t getting any pathogens, clean and cook the meat as you would for human consumption. When cooking for cats, don’t use any oils or spices; oils and herbs are for human taste only and toxic to cats. At best, they’ll make your cat gain weight, and cats are already very susceptible to weight gain.
Can Cats Eat Crab Shell?
No, crab shells are too hard and splinter when bitten. Consuming crab shells could lead to indigestion or choking your cat to death. If the shell gets caught in their esophagus, cats can also rip the tissues of their esophagus, trying to dislodge the splintered shell.
Can Cats Eat Crab Sticks?
In moderation, cats can eat crab sticks. The biggest worry with crab sticks is the high sodium intake. A single crab stick can quickly meet or exceed your cat’s daily sodium intake, potentially fatal to them.
Some crab sticks can also contain toxins such as sodium pyrophosphate and potassium chloride, which can be dangerous for cats in high amounts.
Crab sticks are people’s junk food, and people are nature’s garbage disposals. It’s best to avoid feeding them to your cat if you can.
Can Cats Eat Imitation Crab?
Like crab sticks, imitation crab can have a considerable sodium index that helps it mirror the salty taste of crab. It’s generally made of surimi, a paste made of multiple types of ground-up seafood; it’s kind of like a seafood hotdog.
Surimi, and thus imitation crab, is generally non-toxic for cats, but it’s also low in nutrients because of the amount of processing the surimi goes through from start to finish. It’s also extremely high in carbohydrates which is terrible for cats.
Imitation crab should be a treat given in moderation, like crab sticks.
Kittens and young cats should never be fed imitation crab as their stomachs and diets are very sensitive. The artificial preservatives and colors in imitation crab can make them very sick.
Can Cats Eat Canned Crab?
Cats should never eat canned crab. Canned meats can contain dangerously high levels of sodium and should be avoided. Most canned meats pretty much only contain meat and salt for preservation. Avoid feeding your cat canned meats wherever possible.
Are Other Shellfish Safe for Cats?
Shellfish or patch to the gills with vitamins and minerals that cats need to thrive. They are a dense source of zinc, iron, calcium, and many other vitamins and minerals. As with crab, you shouldn’t feed any of these meats to your cat raw. Feeding your raw cat meat from the grocery store can introduce pathogens and cause digestive upset or even death.
Shrimp and other fish can be fed to cats once cleaned and cooked properly. Cats are incredibly hardy when it comes to consuming animal proteins. Wild cats consume meats, tendons, and even bones. So, if the meat is cooked and cleaned, there shouldn’t be any problems feeding them to your cats.
Like other foods, you want to make sure that any fish or shellfish you prepare for your cat is cooked without seasonings, especially without salt. Increased sodium levels can be hazardous for cats, and their sodium intake from people’s food should be monitored closely.
Cats are one pet known to get into a lot of food. So, it’s good to know which foods are safe for them to eat. You don’t need to worry if your cat gets into some crab that you had stored away for yourself. Odds are the biggest worry is the spices you cooked it with!
A little bit of human food here and there doesn’t pose much of a risk to cats, but you should strictly monitor their consumption of human foods. Many things used in the preparation of human foods are not suitable for their consumption.
Featured Image Credit: Piqsels